"She could have passed me" – second-placed Qin says dazzling Dauwalter let him beat her out of respect at Mt. Fuji 100

US trailer Courtney Dauwalter celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the 20th edition of The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
The queen of ultrarunning blew the women's race out of the water, and came third overall (Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD / Contributor)

If you've been paying attention to the world of trail running, it will come as no surprise to learn that Courtney Dauwalter won the women's race at the Mt. Fuji 100 on Saturday. However the queen of ultrarunning still managed to stun by grabbing third place overall in the tough race, with the second-placed runner believing she could have beat him.

Dauwalter set off on the evening of Friday, April 26 among some 2,400 hopefuls to tackle the course which winds through mountains and forest terrain at the foot of Mt. Fuji, an active volcano on Japan's Honshu island. The course delivers a cumulative elevation gain of 23,093 feet.

Dauwalter maintained her lead in the women's race from the very beginning then surged ahead of the majority of the men in the race, at one point holding second place overall. In the end, she finished third overall, just 30 seconds behind Guidu Qin and 11 minutes behind the winner Guomin Deng, with a finish time of just 19:21:22.

"I felt so lucky to be out there seeing the sunrise with Mount Fuji. It was absolutely stunning," says Dauwalter, who you can watch crossing the finish line in the video below.

"Generally I just felt like it was the best day to be out moving with my feet on an amazing course in a beautiful place with a wonderful community and that was what kept me pushing towards the finish line."

Dauwalter caught up with Qin with just 20km remaining on the course, who acknowledged that she is his "senior" in this sport and says he believes she allows him to beat her out of respect.

"When she caught up to me, I had no energy left, but I thought I would try to stay with her until the end to learn from her. I think she could have passed me and finished, but she respected my pride and let me go ahead. I appreciate her consideration."

Dauwalter came in more than four hours ahead of the second-placed woman. This was her second win at Mt. Fuji, having been previously crowned champion in 2018. Last year, she won the UTMB, Western States 100 in California and Hardrock 100 in Colorado.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.